Dramatic Fightback Sees Wild Women End Season On High Note
The Wild women celebrate their 6-6 draw away to Chelmsford Cobras (Photo by Stephen Fairclough)
The Widnes Wild women’s team ended their Women’s Premier League season on a high note with a 6-6 draw away at league runners-up Chelmsford Cobras on Sunday.
The game was very closely contested throughout, completely belying the comparative league positions of the two teams – the Cobras already confirmed in second place in the league table with 8 wins from 11 games and the Wild women struggling down in second bottom with just 1 win and 1 draw from 11 starts.
There were numerous chances at both ends but the hosts just edged the first period 1-0 with a goal after 11 minutes.
The Wild women equalised just 5 minutes into the second period with a goal from Abi Hayes and the Widnes team had much more possession – out-shooting the Cobras by 13 to 8 – but not managing to capitalise on their efforts. The home team, on the other hand, managed to score 3 goals from their 8 shots in the period and headed into the second break with a 4-1 lead.
It was 5-1 to Chelmsford within 2 minutes of the restart but a goal from Amanda Williams pulled the Wild women back to 5-2 some 3 minutes later. The Cobras extended the lead once again making it 6-2 with 10 minutes to play and, looked at that time, to be cruising to victory.
With just 5 minutes left, Chelmsford’s leading goalscorer Tereza Plankova picked up a hooking penalty and the Wild women pushed up to make the most of their ensuing two minute player advantage. Abi Hayes fired in the powerplay goal and this breakthrough sparked a revival among the Widnes team.
Just 50 seconds later, the Wild’s Belgian international player Leen de Decker scored to make it 6-4. 80 seconds after that, Lucy Kirkham found the back of the net to close the gap to a single goal and set up a fascinating last two minutes of the league season.
The clock ticked down, both teams had chances and then – with just 21 seconds left to play – Amanda Williams fired into the Cobras’ net to level the score and secure the Wild women a well deserved 6-6 draw.
The resulting point sees the Wild women finish the season in 6th place in the league table – 2 points clear of the relegation slot occupied by Nottingham Vipers.
Amanda Williams finishes the season as the Wild women’s top points scorer with 7+3 in 9 appearances. Katie Hills and Leen de Decker tie in second with 6+3 and 4+5 respectively.
Lucy Kirkham, Sav Sumner and captain Charlene Chapman were ever presents for the season, each having played all 12 league games, and the season was notable for encouraging new talent with 5 new players – Katie Fairclough, Pauline Hayward, Alice Horsfield, Charlotte McPhee and Rebekah Scott – all making their WPL debuts for the Wild women.
The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders team missed out on the chance to go top of their Summer Classic Cup group table after a disappointing 0-6 defeat to local rivals Flintshire Phantoms at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
The Phantoms opened the scoring after 4 minutes and doubled their advantage after 8. While not playing particularly badly, the Raiders seemed to have trouble getting going and were 0-3 down by the end of the second period. Three more goals from the visitors in the last period gave a final scoreline that didn’t truly reflect the game as a whole.
The Raiders are back in action next Saturday 12th May when they play the Wyre Seagulls away in Blackburn. They are next at home on Sunday 27th May when they entertain the Sheffield Ice Tigers in a 4.30pm face off at Planet Ice Widnes.
Sunday 6th May 2018 – Women’s Premier League
Chelmsford Cobras 6 – Widnes Wild Women’s Team 6
Period Scores: 1-0, 3-1, 2-5
Shots on Goal: Chelmsford 36 – Widnes 37
Penalties In Minutes: Chelmsford 4 – Widnes 4
Widnes scoring: Amanda Williams & Abigail Hayes both 2+0, Lucy Kirkham & Leen de Decker both 1+2
Match Officials: Nick Stephenson – Referee, Pawel Olczak – Linesman, Donald Campbell – Linesman
Report by Paul Breeze – www.icehockeyreview.co.uk
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